Figure Out How Long To Water Your Lawn With A DIY Sprinkler Gauge

The conventional wisdom is that your lawn should get about 1” of water per week. When it rains, meteorologists will tell you how many inches of rainfall your area got. But what if it hasn’t rained for a while; how long should you leave a sprinkler running to get 1” of water on your lawn? Luckily it is super simple to make a DIY sprinkler gauge to figure out exactly how long to water your lawn with your specific sprinkler!

Make a simple DIY sprinkler gauge to figure out how long to leave the sprinkler running on your lawn to get the recommended 1" of water per week!

In general, most sprinklers put out 1” of water over about half an hour, but it can vary a lot depending on the type of sprinkler you have and your water pressure. To be sure you aren’t under-watering or over-watering your lawn, make a quick DIY sprinkler gauge to determine how much water your specific sprinkler puts out over time.

DIY Sprinkler Gauge

  • 5 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 15 minutes (time spent waiting around)
  • 20 minutes (total project time)



  • 3-5 small tin cans (tuna cans or cat food cans are perfect!)


Clean out a few tin cans to use as your sprinkler gauges. You can use any kind of container you want to; just make sure that all of them are the same size and that they have straight sides and a flat bottom so you can accurately measure the accumulated water.

Set up your sprinkler on your lawn just like you normally would, then place your empty tin cans spread out across your lawn before turning on the sprinkler. Put some cans closer to the sprinkler and some further away so that you can get a good idea of the average water output across your whole lawn.

How Long To Water Your Lawn 2

Turn on your sprinkler and set a timer for 15 minutes. Let the sprinkler run for 15 minutes, then turn it off.

How Long To Water Your Lawn 3

Carefully collect the cans of water (don’t spill any water!) and bring them over to somewhere flat, like a deck or a sidewalk. Measure the amount of water in each container, add all the amounts together, and divide by the number of containers you used.

How Long To Water Your Lawn 7

Combined, there was 1.5” in my three containers, so on average that means my sprinkler puts out 1/2” of water in 15 minutes. So to get 1” of water on my lawn every week, I need to run my sprinkler for 30 minutes a week. Simple, right?!

It’s better to water your lawn really deeply 2 times a week rather than watering daily; that way the roots of your grass can grow deep and strong. Once you figure out how long to water your lawn each week, divide it by two, set your sprinkler up twice a week, and you’re good to go! For me, that’s 15 minutes twice a week, but if it’s really hot out, you can always go a little longer just to make sure your grass isn’t thirsty!

Make a simple DIY sprinkler gauge to figure out how long to leave the sprinkler running on your lawn to get the recommended 1" of water per week!

How long do you water your lawn? Have you checked your sprinkler output lately? If you’re having problems with weeds or brown patches, your lawn may need a little more water every week!

Shop this project:

Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!


Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

  1. Ann Katelyn says

    7 years ago

    Thanks for your useful information.
    Now I am using a hose reel to water my lawn. And of course it is not convenient.
    I want change to using sprinkler like you. Could you give me some advice about choosing a type of sprinkler for my garden at 1000 ft squared.
    Thank you so much

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      I really like the oscillating sprinkler I bought. It’s fully adjustable and can do up to 2800 sq ft. Here’s my affiliate link to the one I have:

Leave a Comment or Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *